Call centre staff

Last year consumers were bombarded with more than 600 million personal injury-related nuisance calls and a further 117 million injury-related nuisance texts, according to research commissioned by insurer Aviva, using Ofcom data. This translates to 1.96m calls and texts made every day or 1,366 calls and texts made every minute which solicit an injury-related compensation claim.

The level of nuisance calls comes amid multiple reports that motor insurance premiums are rising again. Rob Townend, Claims Director, Aviva UK General Insurance, said, “We have all received the nuisance calls and texts phishing for an injury claim. We will continue to face this threat until the financial incentives at the heart of injury claims are removed.

“Aviva has long called for changes to how we compensate minor injuries such as whiplash. The sooner the reforms proposed in the Autumn Statement are implemented – namely the removal of cash compensation for minor injuries and a cut in solicitors’ fees – then nuisance calls phishing for injury claims will disappear. With these extra claims and costs removed, premiums would fall by an estimated £40 – £50 per year.

“It’s time to hang up on nuisance calls by removing the easy access to cash from injury claims.”

Nuisance calls driving an increase in older claims

Increasingly, claims management companies (CMCs), marketing and so-called data companies are trawling through older claims in an aggressive and sustained campaign of nuisance calls. Aviva has witnessed a 150% increase between 2011 – 2015 in the number of claims submitted more than 300 days after the accident, so that now one in every 10 claims is more than 300 days old.

The current time limit to bring a claim for injury after a car accident is three years. Aviva believes that this should be reduced – at least for minor injuries – which is overwhelmingly supported by consumers: 87% think the current three-year limitation period for making an injury claim is too long.

Consumer Research on nuisance calls

The majority (64%) of nuisance calls are made to those who have signed up to the Telephone Preference Service and 16% of people said they had received calls on an ex-directory land line. More than 9-in-10 (93%) people think these companies are trying to take advantage of the consumer. It is no surprise then that 63% of people support tighter government regulation and 55% think all unsolicited marketing calls should be banned.

So why do Claims Management companies make so many nuisance calls and apply such pressure to prospective claimants?  Amazingly, CMCs can claim 40% of the compensation awarded to the claimant which for a typical compensation award of £2,500, equates to £1,000 for simply submitting a claim.

Townend concluded, “Nuisance calls are yet another outcome of a broken compensation system saturated with too much money that is too easy to access. The current system not only incentivises the 718 million nuisance calls and texts made last year, but also the organised fraudsters behind crimes such as crash for cash and those who want to ‘have a go’ by submitting an exaggerated claim. Many injury lawyers deny this problem even exists – which isn’t surprising given their dependence on the existing claims culture – but our research reinforces the true extent of this issue.”

You can read the full article and case histories here